Even as cryptocurrencies are getting crushed, Amazon sees plenty of opportunity with blockchain technology.
The company said on Wednesday that it's introducing two new services, including a managed blockchain offering, to let Amazon Web Services customers set up "a scalable blockchain network with just a few clicks" that "automatically scales to meet the demands of thousands of applications running millions of transactions."
Blockchain is a software protocol that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Also called distributed ledger technology, its potential has been compared to the internet — but the hype has outpaced reality. Outside of cryptocurrencies, few commercially viable products have been built on blockchain to date, and crypto prices have plunged, with bitcoin losing almost 70 percent of its value in 2018. Meanwhile, Cowen estimates it will take almost six years for blockchain to gain widespread adoption.
Amazon's new product will support two popular existing blockchain platforms — Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. Ethereum is a popular open-source building platform for developers, linked to the cryptocurrency ether, while corporate giants including IBM are currently building projects on Hyperledger.
"We don't build things for optics," AWS CEO Andy Jassy said on Wednesday at the company's re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Jassy said AWS only spends resources on something when they "understand the problem" and said, "this is something that a lot of companies need."